The New Way TV Networks are Using Overnight Ratings


The 7-Day Solution: ‘Big Four’ Are Moving On From ‘Irrelevant’ Overnights

 | By  and  September 18, 2014 @ 4:11 pm
The 7-Day Solution: How Networks Are Moving On From 'Irrelevant' Overnight Ratings                                                 LES MOONVES, CBS President…. Getty Images.

The Big Four believe that overnight numbers don’t really matter anymore — and they want the rest of the world to believe it too

CBS is breaking out the crystal ball when it comes to ratings.

The network announced on Thursday that, when its 2014-2015 season kicks off on Monday, it will include projections for Live + 7 ratings, which take into account viewers who watched a program when it originally aired and over the next seven days in time-shifted viewing.

CBS isn’t the only one looking toward the future where ratings are concerned. Fox began offering Live+7 projections with its ratings breakdowns for the past year.

The networks’ decision to include projected ratings might seem to be of little significance — after all, they’re merely predictions, which may or may not turn out to be true, but it is a sign of the increase in time-shifted viewing, and how it affects the networks’ bottom line.

While traditionally, advertising rates have relied on same-day ratings, the increasing presence of DVRs has been gradually changing the formula. In recent years, C3 data — the equivalent of Live + 3 Day ratings — have factored into advertising rates, with C7 data — the equivalent of Live + 7 Day ratings — also creeping into the equation.

The difference can be significant. A May 2014 episode of the CBS drama “Person of Interest,” for instance, logged 10.499 million total viewers in Live + Same Day numbers. When Live + 7 Day is factored in, the episode drew 14.489 million total viewers, a 38 percent boost. Meanwhile, at NBC, both “The Blacklist” and “Grimm” enjoy delayed viewing lifts of 45 percent.

In CBS’s announcement of its new reporting system, CBS Corporation president and CEO Les Moonves said that C7 deals played a “significant” part in the network’s upfront negotiations between the network and advertisers this year, and the trend won’t be reversing itself anytime soon.

“L7 and C7 are the metrics that more accurately account for how viewers watch our shows and how we get paid for our programming — both in advertising and content licensing,” Moonves said. “C7 deals were a significant part of our upfront negotiations this year, and we are doing more and more C7 deals all of the time. As new technologies continue to improve audience measurement across all platforms, these more precise metrics are becoming the industry standard, benefiting advertisers and content providers alike.”


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